7 Scandinavian Design Principles

During the 1930s, the Scandinavian design movement first started in the 5 Nordic Countries of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. The movement made its way to Canada and the United States in the 1950s through design show exhibitions which promoted simple living and minimalist designs that are inspired by nature.

Scandinavian decor is now a worldwide phenomenon. This style of decoration is admired for its simple nature, functionality and connection to the environment which offers residential and commercial areas a subtle elegance.

In Northern Europe, Scandinavian design became popular due to high demand for functionality during severe winter conditions. This encouraged residents to value efficiency more than the actual look and design of furniture.


To achieve a balance of functionality and comfort while keeping the Scandinavian aesthetic, here are some ideas that can help guide you:

Soft Tones

White walls help bring out the use of earthy tones and contributes to keep the room bright. When colours are used they are soft and muted which ties all the pieces in the room together.

Natural Lighting

To make a room feel more spacious and bright the use of natural lighting should be maximized. Allow natural light to illuminate spaces with little use of window treatments. Window treatments such as sheer or translucent ones are acceptable.

Modern Furniture

Scandinavian homes are furnished with mid-century modern designed pieces. These pieces are not heavily detailed, they are clean lined, tapered legs, subtle curves with a minimalist design.

Clean Space

An important aspect for Scandinavian Design is keeping the amount of things in a room to a minimal and free of clutter. Less is always better.


The incorporation of wood decor, accents and flooring is important in Scandinavian style. Light woods such as ash, beech and pine are more suitable in order to keep in theme with the bright aesthetic of this style.  


Adding some plants or flowers can bring life into a room. This can also help brighten up your space and provides a pop of colour.

Cozy Textiles

Rugs and sheepskins are used to soften wood floors in Scandinavian homes. Choosing throws made out of wool or mohair with shades of grey such as charcoal can provide texture while staying with the Scandinavian look.


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